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Justice in Policing Act moves forward in House

Republicans in Senate launch similar legislation

Lisa Fitch Editor-in-chief | 6/18/2020, midnight

The act would also:

• Ban chokeholds, carotid holds and no-knock warrants at the federal level

• Establish public safety innovation grants for community-=based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches

• Require state and local law enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras

• Establish a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic officers who are fired or leave an agency from moving to another jurisdiction

• Establish a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, state and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct

• Creates law enforcement training programs to develop best practices and request the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on president Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century policing

Obama appointed an 11-member task force to respond to a number of serious incidents between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In 2015, the task force produced a guidebook as a tool, giving specific guidance on how to reduce crime while building community trust.

That final report called for law enforcement to protect the dignity and human rights of all. To be guardians versus warriors.

Needless to say, not every police force adopted the guidebook.

Forum attendees agreed that although policing is a local function and federal law is limited in what it can do, the Justice in Policing Act introduced last week will create a national standard.

The CBC has been working hand-in-hand with other minority legislative groups, including the Congressional Quad-Caucus, which includes the CBC; the Congressional Progressive Caucus; the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus; and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

“I want to thank the people who have taken to the streets peacefully,” said Rep. Tony Cardenas. “I’ve been legislating for 24 years, and I’ve never experienced as a legislator this kind of momentum.

“You are the ambassadors of change,” Cardenas said. “Please ask your family, neighbors and friends to pressure senators. Don’t let up. We need the legislation to actually get passed. We need to keep up the momentum. Let’s not let this opportunity be missed.”

Forum attendees agreed that although this is a very sad time, it also seems to be a very promising time. People are outraged, but also energized.

Bass believes that the House and Senate will review their two pieces of legislation and work out a deal. It’s hoped that the final legislation can be on the president’s desk for signature by the Fourth of July.

“The last thing we want to do is come out with a bill that is essentially smoke and mirrors,” Bass said. “We cannot do that. I think there is a real interest in doing something significant.”